SABMiller, Catfight


This tongue-in-cheek ad, meant to be the fantasy of men -- literally -- shows two women in business suits eating lunch at a beautiful outdoor cafe when they start arguing about whether the beer tastes great or is less filling (recalling the classic ads from the mid 1970s-1980s).

The campy ad immediately has them pulling each others' clothes off (revealing enhanced breasts) and wrestling in their bras and panties in a nearby fountain to melodramatic music.

The scene is interrupted by two men sitting in a bar saying, "Now that would make a great commercial!" The other chimes in, "Who wouldn't want to watch that?" Two women look on with baffled looks.

The ad closes with a continuation of the action, where the women throw each other into a cement pit as one grabs the other and -- completing the male fantasy with a lesbian reference -- says, "Let's make out!" The TV version ends there, but one version that was shot but not aired shows the women then kiss (sort of, the angle is bad). The kissing version is available on the internet.

The ad, which tries to offer a nod to women, nonetheless did not fair well with them. USA Today reported Miller received 400 e-mails, with the debate running 50-50 for and against, says Miller Lite spokesman Ron Acosta. Most of the complaints were from over-40 married women with families. The NFL got a "handful of complaints," says spokesman Brian McCarthy. Executives at ABC, Fox and CBS reported no problems.

Advertising Age critic Bob Garfield called the ad "an abomination." His colleague at Adweek, Barbara Lippert, wrote: "Let's face it: No one ever went broke overestimating the visual stimulation of pneumatic boobs and lesbian scenarios." Lippert rated the spot as "worst" for the beer category in 2003, noting "It was more about hostility, about tuning out women for soft-porn caricatures."

User Comments
Emil Christiansen
I've stopped drinking Miller because your ads are so offensive. The one you air with the women slugging it out is completely tasteless. Now I think Miller beer is tasteless, too. Go, Bud!

Cece Benjamin
I don't see anything remotely lesbian about this (save the so-called stereotypical male fantasy). These are just two straight chicks hamming it up for a commercial... *smirk...
Gotta go with the guys on this one though --it's frikkin' funny... and isn't it a sight?

Jennifer F.
I would have to disagree about the = rating on this ad. To me it trivializes a same-sex -- in particular a lesbian -- relationship as something to be watched and laughed at. That it is somehow just there for others amusement much like a lot of ads that use women as objects to sell their products.
There may not have been an snide remarks or laughing in the ad which makes it better, but nonetheless I don't see it completely as an equal non-issue ad.

Peter Reid
It plays to the lowest common denominator.

Do none of these critics understand satire?? I love it.

I love this ad - it smacks so many stereotypes. Love the "let's make out" version - and can't wait for the male follow up. Hopefully a male follow up will get as much air play as this one, and be as fun spirited, without being degrading.

Jonah Falcon
I love it. The only people who hate it are the same people who were offended by Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" (which middle class white males thought was offensive but WOMEN loved.) Besides, gays love catfights. It's a known fact. Bitchiness is a gay calling card (whether from women OR men.)

I recognized the commercial for what it was: a couple of idiot guys having a typical male fantasy. However, in the wake of all the flak it stirred up, they should've done a follow-up commercial where it's two men doing the same thing, with the women at the end telling their boyfriends "Now do you understand why your idea wouldn't work?" EvanThe actresses were interviewed in the April 2003 issue of Stuff magazine, and Tanya Bellinger (the blonde) revealed there was no kiss between her and Kitana Baker (the brunette).

It fits the mentality of Average Joe Beer Drinker. Looks like something the Man Show would write. I was sitting in a sports bar and the ad was on the TV. The room got silent. Money well spent. I guess?

Scott Alamar
I find it quite perplexing that on one hand, the IKEA "catfight" couple plays into stereotypes and gets an unfavorable rating while this "catfight" ad plays into fetishizing the frat-boy mentality of watching two women ripping each other's clothes off and fighting over their opinions on a beer product receives a "non-issue" and seemingly favorable rating. Guess the reviewers deem it socially acceptable to glorify such a stereotypical frat-boy fantasy while, it is not okay to portray gay men as effeminate and, dare i say "bitchy." But on the other hand it is completely acceptable for the gay white male bourgeois hegemony to utilize that stereotype as a source of power. I suppose it's tantamount to African-Americans being the only ones to use the word "nigger." Not to say that no one else should be able to utilize such terminology, as it is offensive in any application, no matter who uses it. Let's face it, there are some very effeminate drama-inducing gay men out there !

Bob Duff
What higher form of flattery than two beautiful, sexy women fighting over your product. It did it's job; it got men's attention.

What a great commercial. It was made to appeal to beer drinking males my age, and guess what? It worked.

Fredrick Bertz
This ad has nothing to do with lesbians or bisexual women. It is a cat fight played to a straight male audience and in that it is the type of disgusting sexual exploitation that I would expect from an ad designed to run during football games. This was a pedantic commercial that was dehumanizing to women and made no comment on queers in society.

Fred Scott
This ad has very little to do with lesbianism and everything to do with the male fantasy of watching two attractive women fight. It's only in the final brief seconds of the ad that any hint of lesbianism make an appearance. And, even then, it plays into the idea of male fantasy.

It was a good commercial because people remembered the product and talked about the ad for weeks after its initial viewing.